Estate planning doesn’t have to be complex, and it’s not just for the ultra-wealthy. Rather, estate planning is simply making a plan for managing your assets and affairs during your lifetime, in the event you become incapacitated, and upon your death. Your estate includes all of your assets, including your bank accounts, stock portfolio and investments, retirement accounts, real estate, personal property, business interests, and insurance. Planning can relieve your loved ones’ burden, ensure that you can meet your personal goals, and care for your loved ones once you are gone.
Estate planning doesn’t just include plans for who gets what when you die. It should be a holistic plan encompassing plans during your lifetime and any eventual incapacity. If you are injured or become ill and cannot make your own financial and medical decisions, you’ll want to have a plan in place. Through a durable medical power of attorney, a financial power of attorney, HIPAA authorizations, a living will, and a revocable living trust, you can ensure that people your trust can step in and make important life decisions, ensuring you and your family are cared for.
Your estate plan can also account for minor children, adult children who still need guidance and support, or special needs beneficiaries through trusts, guardianships, or conservatorships. You don’t want a probate court deciding who should care for your children, and planning can ensure that a guardian for your children can step in immediately in the event of your death or incapacity. Estate planning can give you peace of mind when it comes to your most vulnerable loved ones.
As part of your estate plan, you will want to maximize the amount of your estate that you can pass on to your beneficiaries and ensure that the transition happens as quickly as possible. Probate fees can consume as much as ten percent of an estate’s value, on top of possible estate and inheritance taxes. Through trusts, direct beneficiary accounts, and other estate planning, you can minimize your heirs’ costs and hassle.
You should update your estate plan whenever you have a major life change, like a marriage, divorce, birth of a child or grandchild, or chronic illness diagnosis. At Dallo Estate Planning, we can help you modify your current estate plan to account for these changes.
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